Published: May 24, 2023

Location: Philippines


Closing Date: Ongoing

Research Assistant Program

Programme overview

This is a unique opportunity to assist the Institute for Marine Research turn science into solutions for the preservation of one the most biodiverse regions in the world. This one-month course will provide students with the practical and theoretical training to collect, analyse, and interpret coral reef data anywhere in the world, whilst being able to earn your PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water SCUBA certification.


IMR diversIMR diver


About the organisation

The Institute for Marine Research (IMR) is a non-profit organization founded in 2018. Based in Dauin, Philippines, IMR’s mission is to conduct long-term and fine-scale research on coastal marine ecosystems. They publish their findings in scientific papers, furthering marine science globally, whilst also using what they learn for community outreach programs. These are designed to encourage locally-led marine conservation strategies in coastal communities.

Their research focuses on coral bleaching and disease, corallivorous invertebrates, pollution, and community-based marine conservation. IMR does vital work for marine life in the Philippines and the furtherment of marine science around the world. Their research helps to protect coral reefs and all kinds of other marine ecosystems. Moreover, their education and outreach programs raise awareness about the importance of marine conservation and help build a more sustainable future for the Philippines.


About the programme

As a student you’ll work alongside marine scientists and assist with the attainment and processing of all data collected from their Dauin Long-Term Reef Monitoring Project. You will go on regular underwater research dives and learn to use a range of marine research equipment, tools, and software. You will also develop a wealth of practical, theoretical, problem-solving, and analytical skills in a marine science context.



This organization operates from Dauin, Philippines. Home to a diverse range of marine ecosystems, including coral reefs and seagrass beds, Dauin is a location of unique potential for marine science research. These ecosystems are located in the Coral Triangle, one of the most biodiverse marine regions in the world, populated by a stunning variety of marine life (fish, invertebrates, and algae). This makes Dauin an ideal location for studying the effects of climate change, pollution, and other human activities on marine ecosystems.

Your accommodation will be at the IMR base, located within Liquid Dive Resort right on the oceanfront, and five minutes from the vibrant town center of Dauin. You’ll stay in a shared room with shared bathrooms, and have the base’s well-equipped kitchen, dining room, classrooms and a dive training pool at your disposal.



This internship begins on the first of each month. Those requiring Open Water and/or Advanced Open Water training will be required to arrive one week prior to the start of the internship for their dive training.


Costs and pre-requisites

Fees vary depending on your current diving certification

  • Uncertified USD 3,430
  • Open Water USD 3,012
  • Advanced USD 2,708


  • No SCUBA Experience necessary
  • Medical evaluation clearing you for SCUBA diving
  • Studying towards a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science or relevant field is preferable but not necessary
  • Passion for marine conservation science
  • Willingness to learn methods, tools and skills of marine science research
  • Minimum age of 18 years old


What’s included

  • PADI Open Water SCUBA Course (including PIC + Manual) – If applicable
  • PADI Advanced Open Water SCUBA Course (including PIC + Manual) – If applicable
  • 10 day coral reef ecology & physiology lecture series
  • Workshops on Indo-Pacific coral, fish, benthic, invertebrate and disease identification
  • Underwater field training in 3-Dimensional reef modelling, diver operated Stereo Video System (SVS), benthic assays, and reef impact protocols (coral bleaching, coral disease, drupella spp. and crown of thorns starfish outbreaks
  • Data analysis of images using the most up to date software systems (Reefcloud, EventMeasure, ImageJ and AgiSoft)
  • ~40 training and survey dives per month (weather permitting)
  • Marine sanctuary fees
  • SCUBA equipment (you will need to provide your own mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit)
  • All necessary field equipment
  • 24hr in-country support
  • 3x meals Monday to Saturday
  • Accommodation
  • 24hr internet access
  • Airport / ferry pick-up from Dumaguete
  • IMR T-shirt

What’s not included:

  • Flights
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for diving and repatriation
  • Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature
  • Costs for additional excursions, recreational dives (available on Sundays) or activities outside the program


How to apply

Fill the application page on our website to join!